Well, for those of you who haven't heard (probably none of you following this little blog), Internet Explorer 9 launched earlier this week. In fact, I was at the launch party at SxSW Interactive in Austin, TX earlier this week. Here's a pic from the party (I took it from my Samsung Focus; it was dark, so the photo is blurry). You can find more photos from our Central Region DPE Flickr stream. The venue was pretty amazing, the music more so, and the drinks were flowing (Jameson's was choice, though I prefer Redbreast or Middleton's).
Beauty of the Web
I installed IE9 Tuesday evening from the Beauty of the Web site, after it released. I first installed it at home, then installed it on my work computer. And, wow, is IE9 *fast*. The site says "Fast is now Beautiful", and I can't agree more. As I said, IE9 is *fast*. It supports HTML5, renders sites more quickly, and integrates with Windows 7 via Jump Lists. In fact, I can't wait to integrate Jump Lists into my web site. Since I'm a manager and stuff, this task, which is probably only 15-30 minutes of effort, will likely take me two weeks to complete. But that's a time constraint on my end. (Seriously, though, I will use the IE9ify jQuery plugin to speed that up.)
Download it now!
Seriously, whether you haven't tried Internet Explorer in a few versions or are running IE8, you need to download and try IE9 now. It's clean, elegant and fast. I'm very impressed and I bet you will be, too.
A few weeks ago I said I was going to start "personalizing" my blog posts. I am still going to post about events and announcements and training opportunities, but I already started posting a bit more about other topics, like work-life balance (editorials). I am also going to occasionally post about my entertainment passions, like games and gaming and books, as well as more editorials (expect another post on work-life balance in the coming weeks) and I may even occasionally write a reasonably "meaty" technical blog post (if I can find the time). This post, however, is about Geocaching – one of my more active entertainment passions.
Have you ever heard of Geocaching? Basically it's a high-tech treasure hunt, though not for material treasure. Rather geocaching is a hunt for the treasure of fun and unique experiences. My wife likes to call it "using multi-million dollar satellites and high-tech GPS gadgets to hunt for Tupperware in the woods." That's a pretty accurate description. You use a GPS, plug in latitude and longitude coordinates, and go find some container cleverly hidden somewhere – in your neighborhood or in a nearby park of forested natural reserve. Containers can be small (and I mean _small_) like a 35mm film canister or even smaller container to something larger like a military-style ammunition canister.
Your GPS could be a smartphone like a Windows Phone 7 device (the Groundspeak folks have a *great* application for WP7; they also have iPhone and Android versions). You could even use a road GPS from Garmin or TomTom or Magellan. But for a little more money you can get a high-sensitivity trail-ready GPS. And my choice is the Garmin Oregon 400t (see the review; it has been replaced by the Oregon 450t). Love that gadget! It's not inexpensive, but on a clear day it gets you within 10' of a cache. And let me tell you, when you're looking for a 35mm film canister, getting within 10' is a real help.
Now, I'm not an expert Geocache enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination. I've only found, as of this writing, 131 caches. (Update: Since the writing of this post, we've attended MOGA 2011 and grabbed several new caches.)
I know people who have found a few thousand caches, in almost all 50 states in the US and from countries all around the world. I aspire to that, as I have more time. For now my simple goal is to keep finding caches around the St. Louis area, attend the occasional caching event like MOGA, and try to find a cache or two in every state I visit. Here's where I've found caches thus far.
If you'd like to learn more about Geocaching, the fine folks at Geocaching.com have produced an Introduction to Geocaching Presentation. They also have published several videos that help explain Geocaching further. It's a fun hobby that usually takes you to unique places hidden around where you live that you would otherwise not even realize are there.
Daylight Savings Time. Don't get me started. If I had my way, we'd end it. But it's here and it's coming this Sunday (don't forget to change your clocks!).
Why am I bringing this up? And why is the post titled Windows 7 to the rescue? Well, I *always* forget to change the clocks. If it weren't for my lovely wife and (far) better half, I would never be on the ball. Worse, this weekend I am traveling to SxSW Interactive to support some things we are doing there (more on that later, if I have the time). Between travel and being generally pathetic when it comes to managing the twice a year time change, I would have botched Sunday and missed some pretty important meetings on my calendar.
How does Windows 7 come to the rescue? Well, I was setting my out of office (OOF, in Micro-speak) and I needed to check the calendar to see what date I was back in town. Since I had the OOF dialog open in Outlook, I couldn't check my calendar there, so I clicked the clock button on Windows 7.
For those of you who have Windows 7, you know this brings up a little dialog with a clock and a calendar. Well, imagine my surprise when Windows 7 offered a handy little tip...
So, Windows 7 to the rescue! I now know that Sunday is Daylight Savings Time and will be prepared for the time change. Cool tip!
Technorati Tags: Windows 7
A close friend recently steered me to a TEDx Talk on work-life balance by Nigel Marsh. I won't pontificate grandly on this. Mr. Marsh, after all, in his short, 10-minute TEDx Talk succinctly, humorously, and very, very effectively makes the case for how easy it is to achieve work-live balance.
You're a Manager, Right?
Yes, I am a Director at Microsoft. Don't "management" and "work-life balance" usually contradict? Sometimes, yes. But work-life balance is a topic I spend a fair amount of time thinking about and, occasionally, talking about as part of my role.
I currently lead – not manage, I hope; perhaps that's fodder for a future blog post... – I lead a team of 10 highly talented, gifted, and extremely intelligent evangelists. I also manage our Central Region Technical Audience Evangelism business, where in that role I impact a total of 17 people with my decisions, tactics and hopefully high-impact strategies. Although I collaborate with my team, my colleagues in Redmond, and our local marketing team, I make decisions every day that impact the topics we deliver in our events, that influence the direction in which our budget is spent, and have a very real impact on the work the team has to do. In short, I have the ability to affect every one of their work-life balance, for good or ill.
Brian Moore on Managing to Enable Work-Life Balance
My style of management is, and I hope I've been clear on this with everyone, one of empowerment. I map our macro-level goals and objectives into strategies and tactics for the region and then leave it up to the great people on our team to do their best. And 99.999% of the time it works out. Of course, along the way we hit potholes in the road. Those potholes sometimes turn into "crunch time" or evolve into a full-blown "fire drill". When those potholes appear on our route to fulfilling our objectives, I often try to think about work-life balance for my team and myself. I try to ask the hard question: is this pothole/request/ask/fire drill really all that important? And I try to shield the team from unnecessary fire drills along the way. After all, I want them to remain focused on our end goals, their personal goals and objectives and career aspirations. I don't want them spending precious time on a one-off low-impact fire drill.
So I think about work-life balance a fair bit. It's important that my decisions are as thoughtful as possible, given the information at hand. It's important that I minimize busy work, even when I ask for data and reporting to support our business reviews. And when the occasional "fire drill" comes our way, I need to make careful decisions as to which I will support and which I will try to deflect to keep the team focused on the end goal. I'm not always successful, but I try every day.
Mr. Nigel Marsh's TEDxSydney Talk
I wanted to embed the video in my blog. The TED folks allow for this, and for that I am grateful. I hope you'll take 10 minutes to give it a listen. It's a great talk and will hopefully make you think.
If you are a developer, you've probably heard plenty about the cloud. But if you're and IT professional, what have you heard about it? How does it intersect with the datacenter? How does it make your job easier – or harder? Is it something that your organization is looking at? Is the cloud something your organization _should_ be looking at but hasn't really dug into it yet?
Whether we like it or not, the cloud – in all its varied forms – is coming. It's best for us to be prepared, whether we are developers (see: Windows Azure Boot Camp) or whether we are IT professionals (see: this very post). Because the cloud is coming. We need to get ready for it and how we plan to address it or incorporate it... Or we could be left behind.
To help IT professionals understand what the cloud means to then, starting in March 2011 we launch our new series of TechNet Events, this series focusing on how IT is being transformed into a dynamic, service-based resource for your business. Think not just about things like Virtualization, but consider taking advantage of cloud-like solutions, whether in your own datacenter or hosted elsewhere. After all, choosing the right solution for the right scenario is always critically important.
Our events will cover three topics. First is cloud computing essentials for IT professionals. Second delves into the public cloud, covering the what, why and how you leverage the public cloud as part of your overall computing and infrastructure strategy. Last we cover the private cloud, again digging into the what, why and how you employ pooled computing resources, automated management, scalability, and on-demand provisioning via on premise resources as opposed to public cloud off premise assets.
Here is our full, 23-city schedule. We launch the series in just a month and run through mid-May 2011. If you live in or near one of these cities, please join us. If you won't have the opportunity to join us in person, please follow the blogs of our resident cloud computing expert, Kevin Remde, and his peers (Matt Hester, Brian Lewis, and John Weston) to see alternative online options to learn more about cloud computing on premise and off.
- Grand Rapids, MI – Tuesday, March 15, 2011
- Detroit, MI – Thursday, March 17, 2011
- Cleveland, OH – Tuesday, March 22, 2011
- Bloomington, MN – Wednesday, March 23, 2011
- Milwaukee, WI – Wednesday, March 23, 2011
- Columbus, OH – Thursday, March 24, 2011
- St. Louis, MO – Monday, March 28, 2011
- Madison, WI – Tuesday, March 29, 2011
- Overland Park, KS – Tuesday, March 29, 2011
- Omaha, NE – Wednesday, March 30, 2011
- Nashville, TN – Friday, April 1, 2011
- Baton Rouge, LA – Tuesday, April 5, 2011
- Cincinnati, OH – Wednesday, April 6, 2011
- Dallas, TX – Thursday, April 7, 2011
- Houston, TX – Tuesday, April 12, 2011
- Louisville, KY – Wednesday, April 13, 2011
- Indianapolis, IN – Thursday, April 14, 2011
- Austin, TX – Thursday, April 14, 2011
- Chicago, IL – Thursday, April 21, 2011
- Des Moines, IA – Friday, April 22, 2011
- Tulsa, OK – Tuesday, April 26, 2011
- Downers Grove, IL – Tuesday, May 10, 2011
- Cedar Rapids, IA – Thursday, May 12, 2011
Fresh on the heels of my Windows Phone 7 post, I also wanted to share some training resources on Windows 7. Yup, that's right... I heard about two sets of training resources this morning and just had to share both. The second set of resources are in the form of How Do I (HDI) videos, which is usually a 5-10 minute short video format focused on a very narrow topic. Here's the list of the latest Windows 7 HDI videos:
And, of course, if you live somewhere in the central US and you want to learn more, perhaps with some evangelist-facilitated hands-on labs, be sure to join us for one of our upcoming Windows 7 Developer Boot Camp events. We have 10 full day events left, mostly in the north and south central US. Think Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas with Michigan and Tennessee happening this week.
Technorati Tags: Windows 7
Wow, where has the first month of 2011 gone? I remember back when I was a kid (_way_ back...), time seemed to progress at a snail's pace. Now that I am, ahem, older, time flies and I don't even know where it went. It seemed only yesterday I posted about our upcoming three developer event series (for the record, that was January 6), and now here it is the last day of January. Where has the month gone?
More on that, perhaps, in a future post – I am considering expanding the scope of my blog a bit, you see. I currently only take time to write about our events (announcements) or training and readiness resources (like this post). I'm thinking of starting to write a bit about my observations and "musings" (let's call them "editorials", since my colleague Clark Sell has dibs on "musings"; see some of the Developer Smackdown podcast episodes to see what I mean), perhaps some commentary on the games I'm playing (video, card, and otherwise), and maybe, just maybe, a swim through some short fiction (if I have the courage). Anyway, more on that in the future. For now, I can tell you, briefly where my January has gone.
One Month Down, Eleven to Go – or Six Down, Six to Go
So, where did my January go? In short I spent a good portion of it on Microsoft midyear activities. As I've mentioned in the past, if only briefly, I am a manager here at Microsoft. I lead the central US Technical Audience Evangelism team in partnership with a colleague, Martin Schray. He leads our Technical Student Evangelism business, whereas I lead the Technical Audience Evangelism business (i.e., technical professionals). We share responsibility for people leadership (we each have 10 people that report to us), but I "own" the professional audience business strategy, execution, and tactical details, including business reporting. Which is what this sidebar is all about: January is our midyear at Microsoft. I've spent a fair amount of time the past three weeks getting data updated, preparing and presenting business reviews, and generating reports. To add a little to the busy-factor, we are also kicking off our midyear career tasks. But enough of that, what's all this training goodness I'm talking about?
New Windows Phone 7 Virtual Labs
After a half-page of this post, I'm finally getting to the main point of the post: the new Windows Phone 7 training and readiness resources posted just in the past few days. Specifically there are some new virtual labs, plus a list of some other resources (best of MEDC and some resources for older versions of WinMo). Here's the short list of the new stuff:
Check them out – and if you want to learn more about Windows Phone 7, be sure to follow Chris Koenig, Dave Bost, Jeff Blankenburg, and William Steele. They are our WP7 specialists in the central US, and they know their stuff.
Technorati Tags: Windows Phone 7
No, this post isn't about a new, heretofore unpublished C. S. Lewis novel. This is a post about the next round of Central US events launching in just a little over a week, starting the week of January 17, 2011.
(Quick side tangent... Can you believe it is 2011 already? I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I certainly did, watching Who Year's Eve on BBC America.)
We're running a series of one-day Window 7 Development Boot Camp events, 15 in total. They will be mostly hosted by Jennifer Marsman, who has also written a great five-part series of blog posts on multi-touch. She has covered Getting Started with Multitouch in Windows 7, Support for Gestures in Windows 7, Multitouch in managed code and WPF, Multitouch in Silverlight, and User Experience with Multitouch. She will be following this five-part technical series up with another series in the next several weeks.
The events Jennifer is hosting will include traditional presentation mixed with hands-on labs. She will cover Windows 7 Application Compatibility, Taskbar Integration, how developers can hook into Internet Explorer 9, Silverlight 4 Out of Browser, and Sensors, Location, and Multitouch in Windows 7. And, as I mentioned, it will include hands-on labs, so bring your laptop loaded up with Visual Studio 2008 or 2010 and, ideally, Windows 7. You'll also need the Windows API Code Pack, the Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers, Silverlight 4, and Internet Explorer 9 (note it's a pre-release build).
Join us to learn more about how you can uniquely harness and exploit the capabilities of the Windows OS and introduce some unique capabilities in your client-side applications.
We're also running a series of two-day Windows Azure Boot Camp events, visiting 20+ cities across 22 total events. There's also an 11-part webcast series. These events are similar to ones we delivered in 2010, but refined based on attendee feedback and updated to reflect the latest Azure SDK and tools. These events will be hosted by Mike Benkovich and Brian Prince. Brian, you may know, was the genius behind the original Windows Azure Boot Camp events we ran in 2010, hosted at TechEd North America in June in New Orleans, and TechEd EU in November in Berlin.
Like the events of 2010, this year's boot camps will mix presentations with hands-on labs. Brian and Mike will introduce the cloud and Windows Azure, explain how to use web roles and worker roles, cover Windows Azure storage options (queues, tables, and blobs), walk through the diagnostic and management APIs, discuss SQL Azure and AppFabric, and close the two-day event with a healthy discussion on various scenarios that may yield better results if deployed to the cloud. We'll also talk about introductory Windows Azure packages, like the new extra-small instance or how to leverage your MSDN Subscriber benefits to tap into the cloud for some free hours (as well as how to maximize the benefit of these introductory packages using utilities like Greybox). And since this is also hands-on, bring your laptop and load it up with Visual Studio 2010 (a trial works), and the required SDKs and tools.
The cloud is coming, fast and furious. It's best to be ready now so you can tap into all the cloud offers when it arrives for you.
Lastly, we're also planning a series of one- and two-day Web Camp events. We will host two, two-day events, one in Austin just before SxSW Interactive and one in Chicago later in the spring. We will also be hosting 10 additional one-day events throughout the Central US. These events are being hosted by Brandon Satrom and Clark Sell, and the big Austin event will feature James Senior and Scott Hanselman.
I talked all about Web Camp in my last blog post before I took a holiday hiatus. It's just a few centimeters below where you're reading now (if you're in browser), so you can read up on the cities, dates, and agenda in detail there. We promise some great information about WebMatrix, ASP.NET MVC, jQuery and more. And like the other boot camps, the Web Camp events will also feature hands-on lab time. Bring your laptop and prepare to code.
Okay, we've rolled out and finished our Windows Phone 7 Boot Camp (and Launch) series. We've also announced our Windows Azure Boot Camp and Windows 7 Development Boot Camp series. We've covered phone and we'll be covering the cloud and the traditional client. What about the web, you ask? Well, have I got an answer for you!
Starting in March 2011, we’re rolling out a series of 12 Web Camps in the Central US. Microsoft's Web Camps are events designed to teach you all about building websites using ASP.NET MVC, WebMatrix, OData and more. We’ve held Web Camps all around the world over the past few years, but we’re taking them to the next level this year with more of one- and two-day events in Central Region, and one just might be near you.
If you’re near Austin, TX or Chicago, IL, you’ll want to join us for a special two-day Web Camp. We’ll cover ASP.NET MVC in-depth on day one and help you get hands-on on day two, facilitating smaller groups through labs, live-coding exercises, or even collaborating on your apps! If you can’t make a two-day event, never fear! We have a series of one-day camps in March, April, May and June throughout the region.
Join Clark Sell and Brandon Satrom for a special WebMatrix and ASP.NET MVC Web Camp you don’t want to miss. No matter your expertise in web development, these Web Camps are the perfect opportunity to get hands-on experience and 'unleash your coding genius'.
These events will:
- Introduce ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web Pages and WebMatrix; discuss possible uses of these
- Explore new features of ASP.NET MVC 3
- Take a dive deep into jQuery
- Facilitate an in-depth discussion on when to migrate ASP.NET Web Pages applications to ASP.NET MVC
- Discuss configuration and deployment of web applications.
And like our other boot camp events, these events will combine both evangelist-led presentations with bring-your-own-laptop hands-on labs. Here are the agendas...
|Start Time ||Duration ||Topic|
|9:00 AM ||10 minutes ||Welcome and Kick-off|
|9:10 AM ||50 minutes ||Web Stack Introduction|
|10:00 AM ||50 minutes ||Building a Site in WebMatrix|
|10:50 AM ||10 minutes ||Break|
|11:00 AM ||60 minutes ||ASP.NET MVC Introduction|
|12:00 PM ||60 minutes ||Lunch|
|1:00 PM ||60 minutes ||Migrating from WebMatrix to ASP.NET MVC|
|2:00 PM ||60 minutes ||jQuery Introduction|
|3:00 PM ||1.5 hours ||Evangelist-facilitated Labs|
|4:30 PM ||10 minutes ||Event Wrap-up|
|Start Time ||Duration ||Topic|
|Day 1 || || |
|9:00 AM ||60 minutes ||MVC Fundamentals|
|10:00 AM ||60 minutes ||Data Access and Modeling with Entity Framework|
|11:00 AM ||15 minutes ||Break|
|11:15 AM ||60 minutes ||Metadata, Validation and Localization|
|12:15 PM ||45 minutes ||Lunch|
|1:00 PM ||60 minutes ||MVC and Ajax, jQuery Templating, jQuery Globalization|
|2:00 PM ||60 minutes ||Using Dependency Injection and Global Action Filters|
|3:00 PM ||15 minutes ||Break|
|3:15 PM ||60 minutes ||Testing and Custom Validation|
|4:15 PM ||45minutes ||Q&A and Event Wrap-up|
|Day 2 || || |
Smaller Working Groups/Development
|11:00 AM ||15 minutes ||Break|
|11:15 AM ||60 minutes || |
Smaller Working Groups/Development
|12:15 PM ||45 minutes ||Lunch|
|1:00 PM ||3 Hours ||Smaller Working Groups/Development|
|4:00 PM ||30 minutes ||Q&A and Event Wrap-up|
- March 7, 2011 – Austin, TX, Day 1 – Before SxSW Interactive
- March 8, 2011 – Austin, TX, Day 2 – Before SxSW Interactive
- March 17, 2011 – Clive, IA
- April 27, 2011 – Franklin, TN
- April 29, 2011 – Columbus, OH
- May 16, 2011 – Irving, TX
- May 18, 2011 – Little Rock, AR
- May 20, 2011 – St. Louis, MO
- May 24, 2011 – Brookfield, MN
- May 25, 2011 – Waukesha, WI
- May 26, 2010 – Chicago, IL, Day 1
- May 27, 2010 – Chicago, IL, Day 2
- June 2, 2011 – Southfield, MI
- June 2, 2011 – Tulsa, OK
Of course balloons on a map are cool, too...
Space is limited so sign up now.
What do WPF, Silverlight 4, and Internet Explorer 9 have in common? No, that's not a riddle. Really, it's not a riddle. They are all FTW. What I mean by that is they all offer developers unique ways to exploit the power of Windows 7, such as integrating with the taskbar, leveraging jump lists, or offering the ability to exploit multi-touch or hardware sensors.
And why am I even talking about this? Well closely following on the heels of our Windows Azure Boot Camp announcement, we are gearing up another boot camp series: For the Win: Window 7 Development Boot Camp. This new series of events will include evangelist-led presentations by none other than the purely awesome Jennifer Marsman as well as hands-on labs to help you really dig into developing client-centric applications using WPF and XAML, Silverlight, and Internet Explorer 9 (yes, client-centric integrations from your web site with just a touch of HTML5).
Jennifer will cover application compatibility and transitioning your application to Windows 7, leveraging the Windows taskbar and jump lists, exploiting the taskbar and jump lists from your web site using IE9, taking advantage of new sensor, location and multi-touch functionality, and creating Silverlight 4 out of browser applications. Each boot camp will last a full day, starting off right at 8am local time, include lunch, several sessions and a couple of hands-on labs to help you really get a feel for how to take advantage of Windows 7 capabilities in your applications.
So, yes, this is a BYOL (bring your own laptop) event. Windows 7 is required, as is several other pieces of software: Visual Studio 2008 or 2010, Windows API Code Pack, Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers, IE9, and Silverlight 4.
- Waukesha, WI on 1/17/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Downers Grove, IL on 1/18/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Indianapolis, IN on 1/19/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Independence, OH on 1/24/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Columbus, OH on 1/25/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Mason, OK on 1/27/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Franklin, TN on 2/3/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Southfield, MI on 2/7/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Bloomington, MN on 2/14/2011 at 8:00 AM
- St. Louis, MO on 2/15/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Overland Park, KS on 2/16/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Des Moines, IA on 2/17/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Houston, TX on 2/21/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Irving, TX on 2/22/2011 at 8:00 AM
- Austin, TX on 2/24/2011 at 8:00 AM